10 April: the Blessing of God

Bethel Baptist Church
Worship Service @ Home
Good Friday, 10 April 2020

Service available on Youtube, or as text (below), or for audio see the Podcasts page.

As we will be taking communion later on please have bread and wine / juice ready before you start this service properly.

Welcome

As we will be taking communion later on please have bread and wine / juice ready before you start this service properly.

P.S. – If you want to know why it’s called Good Friday – ask Roland!

Worship

(Thanks Mandy for choosing today’s hymn):

Let’s spend a few moments reflecting on our Lord being crucified and let’s worship Him!

Word

In Proverbs 4:18 we read: “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” And there is a sense in which as we read through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, the revelation of the Gospel, which starts as a faint glimmer of hope, starts to shine brighter and brighter. It can also be said that as we continue to read through the Scriptures a number of times, that this also happens. It is guaranteed that we will see something new , something brighter each time we read. So I encourage everyone to keep reading through the Scriptures.

Today we are going to look at “The Blessing of God.” “Bless” is probably one of the most frequently used words on the lips of a believer. But what exactly does the word mean? Bless has a range of meanings e.g. to greet, congratulate, thank, make peace, worship, praise but the meaning we are going to concentrate on here is “to bestow goodness or favour” (Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible), the exact opposite to the word “curse”.

The first glimmer of this blessing appears in what is known as the ‘Protevangelium’ (made up of two Greek words ‘protos’ meaning ‘first’ and ‘euangelion’ meaning ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’). Genesis 3:15 is commonly referred to as the first mention of the good news of salvation in the Bible, the Protevangelium: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.’” This striking of His heel took place when Satan conspired to have Jesus crucified, which is what we are particularly remembering today. The crushing of Satan’s head began when Jesus uttered those immortal words “It is finished”,  died and rose again. All authority in heaven and on earth has now been given to Him and He commissions His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, which has been going on, and increasingly so, these last 2,000 years.

The light of this blessing starts to shine brighter by the time we reach Genesis 12:1-3, relating to God’s call and promise to Abram: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Because of Abraham’s obedience to God in being ready to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, this promise of blessing was passed on to future generations e.g. to Isaac: “Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions’” (Genesis 26:3-5). Obedience therefore is important in this whole matter of being blessed (cf. Deuteronomy 28).

We can follow the family line of Abraham all the way through to Jesus Christ e.g. Matthew 1:1-17. By the time we reach Galatians 3:8 the light is blazing brightly: “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you”, meaning Abraham’s seed Jesus Christ as Galatians 3:16 makes clear: “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds’, meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed’, meaning one person, who is Christ.”

Peter, like Paul, also associates Jesus Christ with the fulfilment of God’s promise to bless all peoples on earth. Peter, preaching at the temple gate called Beautiful after the healing of the lame beggar, states: “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.’” (Acts 3:25-26). The blessing of God is a gift to the nations, the forgiveness of sins and new life in Christ, and is received by faith. So our Eternal Father had all things in place before the creation of the world. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned He started to reveal His plan for the blessing of the world ultimately through His Son Jesus Christ and the gift of His Spirit.

Cost of the Gift! – the cost incurred was the life of His Son: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20), Amen.

Communion

Public Domain Clip Art Image | bread and wine | ID: 13526005215785 ...

Let’s spend a few moments remembering with thanksgiving what our Lord went through for us when He died on the cross and then we will take the bread and the wine together.

Please read 1 Cor 11:23-32 and then give thanks for the bread and the cup.

If we are on our own then we can say these words as we take the bread: “The body of Jesus broken for me – thank You Lord, Amen.” And as we take the cup: “The blood of Jesus shed for me – thank You Lord, Amen.”

If we are with others we can minister to one another with the words: “The body of Jesus broken for you (mentioning the person’s name).” Each should hold on to the bread until everyone has been served and then eat together with thanksgiving. Likewise with the cup: “The blood of Jesus shed for you (mentioning the person’s name)”. Hold on to the cup until everyone has been served and then drink together with thanksgiving.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father we thank you for Your great love for us in giving Your One and Only  Son to die in our place. We pray for many people at this time who have been affected by this virus. We especially remember Prime Minister Boris Johnson; [Please add names of those who are in need of prayer at this time / and any situations requiring prayer]; All NHS Staff and all Key Workers; All Unwell; All who have lost loved ones. Father be very near to each one at this time and bring Your comfort, strength, healing and encouragement to bear upon them at this difficult time in and through Your Son Jesus Christ, Amen.